According to the Los Angeles Times, Assemblyman Mike Gipson has introduced a bill that would make it a “misdemeanor with punishment of up to a year in jail and as much as $5,000 in fines for a first responder to use a smartphone or other device to photograph a deceased person for any purpose other than official law enforcement business.”
“Our first responders, when responding to an emergency, should not be taking very sensitive photographs … for their own gain, for their own pleasure,” Gipson said Tuesday (May 5). “It was unconscionable. It’s not right.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in January. Shortly after the memorial was held for Bryant and his daughter, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began investigating claims that deputies shared horrific photos of the crash site to people who had nothing to do with the investigation.
Reportedly, one of the deputies showed the photos to a girl he was trying impress at a local bar. “He tried to impress a girl by showing her the photos,” a source told TMZ. The bartender overheard his conversation and filed an online complaint with the Sheriff’s Department. The photos were reportedly also passed around the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, the first responders to the crash.
Vanessa Bryant was completely “devastated” about the photos. Her lawyer, Gary Robb, released a statement saying that she went to the sheriff’s office on the day of the crash “and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers.”
“This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families,” the statement continued. “At that time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families’ privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honor those requests.”